In 1975, eight years before Jay Cutler was born and nine before the arrival of Brandon Marshall, the Magnuson-Moss Act became law. It was designed to protect consumers from faulty warranties on products with the psychological benefit of reducing cognitive dissonance.
Sadly, that law never has applied to NFL player contracts. There is no relief for the feeling of buyer's remorse that a team will get when deals prove bad. So if the report is true and the Bears regret giving Cutler $54 million in guaranteed money, little can be done to soothe a franchise's deep disquiet.
It was extraordinary to hear Marshall on Monday defend Cutler on his WMVP-AM 1000 radio show before acknowledging, "as a business man, I would have buyer's remorse too.''
You couldn't help but wonder if Marshall would apply the same regret to his own deal? Perhaps not, because the gifted wide receiver seems the type to misinterpret Galileo's revelation that the Earth is not the center of the universe as evidence things orbit around him.
Marshall's terrible season ended with a rib injury against the Cowboys, leaving him with 61 catches and 721 yards — his lowest totals since his rookie season for the Broncos. In fairness, he was battling injuries all year, including a bad ankle sprain. But outside of a three-touchdown game at San Francisco, the most memorable part of his season was a meltdown in the postgame locker room after a bad loss to the Dolphins.
Once source said Jermon Bushrod and Jordan Mills had to intercede to keep Marshall away from kicker Robbie Gould, who raised the receiver's ire by interrupting his tirade. Another source said Kyle Long also had to mediate.
The Bears are Marshall's third team and he came to them from the Dolphins still operating on a contract that was effectively a series of one-year deals. When he received his contract this offseason he got $22.3 million guaranteed. It's no surprise an accepting and non-judgmental policy has been applied to the player.
Things are equally complicated with Cutler. If the Bears indeed are suffering buyer's remorse there are two options, neither of which seem palatable. Stay the course and pretend all is well or renounce the purchase and face the disaster of letting $38 million walk out the door.
Cutler, ironically enough, is on the verge of rewriting the single-season record book. He's a mere seven completions away, 393 passing yards and four passing touchdowns away from team records in all three categories. His passer rating is 91.7 because of his interceptions, but that would be a career high.
But even the most fervently invested decision-makers at Halas Hall would be hard-pressed to argue Cutler's season has been any kind of a success. No anesthetic can reduce the swelling civic pain misdirected expectations have left for Bears fans.
Buyer's remorse is stronger with Cutler than Marshall, but it extends throughout the team's offseason spending spree. You can find only a handful of contracts the team shouldn't regret: those of Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett and Willie Young.
Sadly, the team is at a point where it should rue deals for the general manager, the coach and too many players to count.
"At the same time we need more,'' Phillips said. "Decision was made that we need to keep the pace up with our division rivals. not sure we're there yet, but our goal has always been to win championships.''
Chairman George McCaskey echoed those thoughts by saying "we need to close the talent gap to compete in the division.''
The Bears lost to the Packers by scores of 38-17 and 55-14 this season and fell 34-17 at Detroit.
Here's hoping everyone regrets the gulf in class between the Bears and their division opponents and soberly understands how far they remain behind the elite teams in the NFL.
"We are committed to getting the right people in the right positions,'' McCaskey said on Jan 3, 2012.
"That is part of ownership's responsibility, getting the right people in the right jobs and then letting them do their jobs so that we can achieve success.''
Years have passed, but what really has changed?
Special contributor Mike Mulligan co-hosts "The Mully and Hanley Show" weekdays from 5-9 a.m. on WSCR-AM 670.